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We Build Alaska

The Sunday Minefield – May 12 (Special Loose Unit Edition)

This week in Juneau has been one of the loosest and weirdest that I have experienced in my six years of coming down for session. And if you have been following me for that whole time, you know that says a lot. To really encapsulate everything that happened would take too many words for this Sunday column. So I am going to focus on the actions of the House for the last two days. As the title of this week’s Sunday Minefield suggest, this week’s Loose Unit is the entire 40-member Alaska House of Representatives. A person could not make up all the shit that went down the last two days. As the saying goes, sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Keep in mind that the constitutional session limit is Wednesday at midnight. A lot remains to be done by then, including passing the operating budget!

Sorry for the late column tonight. I did not start writing this until 11 pm! FML

A friendly message and reminder to all our readers. The Landmine is made possible by myself and a team of awesome Alaskans. I am back in Juneau for my sixth session in a row reporting on the Legislature. If you enjoy the content we provide, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation. You can click here to donate. We have a donation system that makes it super easy. We would really appreciate it. And thanks to everyone who has been supportive!

This Week’s Loose Unit (Maximum Loose House)

It all started yesterday morning. For reasons not totally known, the House majority thought it wise to spend nearly eleven hours on House Bill 183. HB 183 is a bill from Representative Jamie Allard (R – Eagle River) that prevents transgender girls (biological boys) from competing in girls sports. It’s a bill that clearly divides the 40-memebr House. On Saturday, only four days remained until the end of session. A lot of bills are in play that involve energy, education, healthcare, and more. But the House majority felt they needed to spend all day Saturday on this one.

The mostly Democratic minority did not like it one bit. They spent the first part of the meeting trying to filibuster the bill by using procedural moves to stop anything from happening. At one point, Representative Calvin Schrage (I – Anchorage), the minority leader, told House Speaker Cathy Tilton (R – Wasilla) that they would “reap what they sow” for years if they try and silence the minority. That activated many in the majority and kicked off what ended up being some absolutely fucking loose behavior on the floor.

Representative Kevin McCabe (R – Big Lake) approached Schrage and basically said he wanted to fight him! Representative Mike Cronk (R – Tok) had McCabe’s back. This prompted Representative Dan Ortiz (I – Ketchikan) to come in hot to defend Schrage! The whole thing was surreal. At one point a Capitol security guard was asked to come into the House chamber (my man Andy is a legend). When Tilton finally gaveled back in to vote on the ruling of the chair on tabling a minority amendment, Representative Zack Fields (D – Anchorage) kept talking, preventing the vote. Representative David Eastman (R – Wasilla) also weighed in with an attempted point of order. It was complete and utter chaos. Good on Tilton for keeping her cool.

Then someone placed a call on the House, which compels attendance for all members. There was more attempts by the minority to filibuster, going as far as six of them refusing to vote on a table motion. That stopped everything. During that at ease, McCabe said something to the effect of “all this does is protect girls sports.” This absolutely activated Representative Jennie Armstrong (D – Anchorage), who started screaming at McCabe to “say it to my face!” The whole thing was fucking intense. The sergeant at arms actually had to walk over to Armstrong to calm her down (Micaela is also a legend). Armstrong and Allard had previously gotten into a loose shouting match on the floor during a different at ease (which I missed but heard all about).

After the at ease following the refusal by the minority members to not vote on the table motion, a more than hour long at ease ensued. No one could leave the chamber without an escort because of the call on the house. This prompted many weird huddles. Eventually the majority and minority came to a deal on how many amendments could be offered as well as a time limit for debate. Now the fun was getting started! Before they got underway with amendments, Schrage apologized for what he said to Tilton, saying his intention was not to threaten her but to stand up for the minority.

There were 87 minority amendments. Though several were tabled, some real fucking lunacy took place. Here are some of the loosest things said:

  • Representative Genevieve Mina (D – Anchorage) suggested that mixed martial arts (MMA) could be co-ed if they just based it on weight. It does not get much looser that that. Check out this MMA video where transgender female fighter Fallon Fox literally cracks the skull of her female opponent Tamika Brents.
  • Representative Sarah Hannan (D – Juneau) asked if “we are all transgender” because human embryos start off as female.
  • Representative Rebecca Himschoot (I – Sitka) suggested that girls don’t need a safe space from transgender girls but instead women need safe spaces from men.
  • Representative Donna Mears (D – Anchorage) referenced a recent social media fad where women are asked if they would rather be alone in the woods with a man or bear, and noted most women chose bear.

The minority did their best to filibuster by having many of their members speak to every amendment. They did not finish amendments until 10:30 pm. They then took up a Senate resolution for a joint legislative seafood task force before gaveling out after 11 pm. The House Finance Committee was scheduled to hear two dozen bills yesterday but that meeting was cancelled because of the transgender sports debate. The House Finance Committee did not meet today either because of more loose activity in the House.

The House returned this morning. They ended up spending like four hours on House Bill 223, an oil and gas royalty tax bill by Representative George Rauscher (R – Sutton). This was a giant waste of time because the vehicle for anything energy related is House Bill 50, which is in the Senate. The Senate is waiting for the House to send then House Bill 307, an integrated transmission bill (the other trans bill) from Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska). Per a deal with the Senate, the House was supposed to send them HB 307 tomorrow. But for some reason they rolled the mother fucker to the bottom of the calendar so they could take up other bills, including the other trans bill. Very loose.

I have to point out that several Anchorage House Democrats consistently took bizarre votes on HB 223 amendments that seems to suggest they want the power and heat to fail in Southcentral next winter. So much for representative democracy! But that’s another story. After HB 223, they went on to some Senate bills. One is Senate Bill 68, a bill by Senator Cathy Giessel (R – Anchorage) to remove newspaper notice requirements for some land and water stuff. All you have to know about that one is it is retaliation for this recent editorial board piece from the Anchorage Daily News calling out the Legislature for not taxing Hilcorp. More loose behavior.

They then moved onto Senate Bill 103, a bill from Senator Forrest Dunbar (D – Anchorage) about peer counseling programs. Representative Zack Fields (D – Anchorage) got clever by offering an amendment that would have put Senate Bill 88, the pension bill into SB 103! This threw the House into a tail spin and promoted a two-hour at ease so the majority could figure out what to do. They finally came back and ruled it out of order. Maximum looseness.

They then took up some fucking critical minerals bill that I am not even going to get into. It was then time for the other trans bill to come back for a final vote. After a ton of debate, the House voted 22-18 to pass HB 183, Allard’s bill protecting girls sports. We all know this is dead on arrival in the Senate. But Allard got a big win here. But the looseness was not done. After the vote, a brief at ease was called before they voted on the effective date clause.

During the at ease, Allard loudly called out Representative Alyse Galvin (I – Anchorage) for a note Galvin mistakenly addressed to Allard that was intended for Representative CJ McCormick (D – Bethel)! That was maximum fucking loose! What is even looser is I was able to obtain a photo of the note! Check it out.

The House never got to HB 307, which is now on tomorrow’s calendar. There are like 40 amendments. The conference committee still needs to meet and finish the operating budget, and then send it back to both bodies. It needs to sit for a day before they can vote. It’s hard to say what will transpire (get it, transpire) the next few days, but it is sure to be loose. They could extend 10 days, but that takes a two-thirds vote form each body. And most people want to get the hell of Juneau. Governor Dunleavy could also call them back immediately for a special session, but that seems unlikely. Pay attention to Landmine Twitter the next few days!

One more thing. This one is positive. The House passed the capital budget this week 39-1. You can guess who voted no. It went back to the Senate, which per their agreement, concurred with the House’s changes. It now goes to Dunleavy for veto review and signature. I gotta give Representative Bryce Edgmon (I – Dillingham), the capital budget chair, some credit here. In a complete and total fucked up House, Edgmon got that baby over the finish line with 39 votes. That deserves some recognition.

If you have a nomination for this week’s Loose Unit, or if you have any political news, stories or gossip (or any old pics of politicians or public officials) please email me at jeff@alaskalandmine.com.

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Mark Kelsey
1 month ago

Rep. Kevin J. McCabe of Big Lake doing his best to replace Eastman as the biggest embarrassment in the Mat-Su delegation, a few days after being named in a petition for a restraining order.

Jimbo (son of Sarah) Hannan
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Kelsey

It’s easy to file a restraining order against someone. What’s important to watch is whether or not the order is granted. The short term was not – so it’s likely the long term also will not be granted.

Mark Kelsey
1 month ago

Yep. McCabe and his staffer Angela Stephl are both very familiar with lawfare. It’s even easier to do when you can dishonestly use your position to tell lies while under oath. Just ask them.

Allen
1 month ago

”Likely” is not correct. There is no reliable data showing that LT DVPOs are “likely” denied when ST DVPOs are denied. The rules are different for each.

Lucy
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Kelsey

McCabe is a known bully and should be fired by constituents.

Martin
1 month ago

And this is the group that gave themselves a huge pay raise!

Media Critic
1 month ago

So, SB168, introduced 2/10/23–2023, last year, 15 months ago–is retaliation for an ADN editorial published 5/11/24, two days ago? That’s a pretty, uh, loose analysis, Jeffy.

Allen
1 month ago
Reply to  Media Critic

I think he means the push to get it through at the last minute, when it went nowhere last year.

Media Critic
1 month ago
Reply to  Allen

SB68 (not 168, my mistake re: bill #) has been moving since early March, probably because it’s pretty non-controversial, unless you own a newspaper. So there’s no last-minute push, just normal progress and just normal Landfield blowing things out of proportion and shooting off his asshole mouth.

Bronson Sucks
1 month ago
Reply to  Media Critic

You mean a normal Landfield blow job.

Akwhitty
1 month ago
Reply to  Bronson Sucks

Sucked my vote

Marlin Savage
1 month ago

Again, it says I’ve already voted when I have not voted.

Marlin Savage
1 month ago
Reply to  Marlin Savage

Really??? Minus votes when I say my votes don’t register says volumes….

Hugh Wade
30 days ago

Doesn’t surprise me Allard was behind all of this wasted time and drama. If you want the antithesis of results, and quiet competence, she is your person.